Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Candles From The Keeping Room: October Opening


Friends. I can only shake my head in rueful sheepishness as I present a huge Candles From the Keeping Room order that has been patiently sitting in my home for almost two months. Waiting to be sniffed and photographed and showered with the attention it deserves. Most of these will be saved and melted for next year. I will melt a few here and there, especially the Christmas ones, but the fall ones are about to go into wax storage to sleep and keep until next September. So what I did I buy? Let me show you! I will only be giving brief scent description based on what I smell and not on the actual notes. Thanks for indulging me.

Apple Dumpling is a repurchase almost every time I run out. I love reliable throw and sweet spiced apple goodness of this blend. More juicy and cider-ish than bakery. 

Leaves Type, I cannot believe this is my first time buying a Leaves dupe from Carol. It is strong and lovely. A nice concentrated dupe of the classic Bath & Body Works scent.


Autumn Magic smells of vanilla hay and brittle leaves piled into mounds for jumping and frolicking. 

Fall Magic is redolent of musty barns and apples piled high in bushels waiting for market day. It creates a realistic autumnal jaunt to the local u-pick farm.


Witch's Brew & Pumpkin Stew is a Yankee Candle dupe for Witch's Brew. A deep and dark patchouli centered fragrance that is softly spiced and woodsy. 

Autumn Moon features spiced citrus and a touch of sweet grassy hay. I love the spice and uniqueness it possesses.

Sweet Harvest Moon wafts out maple sweetness and pumpkin and vanilla creaminess, a pinch of cinnamon and spice to give it some richness. Delish.


Pumpkin Firewood blows my mind. Smoldering embers and fireside warmth sugared with sweet pumpkins and a dash of spice. I could smell this all day long. It is everything I hoped and more.

Vanilla Pumpkin Marshmallow is a repurchase. It is a heavy vanilla fragrance with a caramel and pumpkin creaminess that throws strong and smells like something good is baking in the oven.

Butternut Pumpkin is another long time favorite that I buy again and again. A spice laden pumpkin that has an almost woodsy edge. Like a spiced pumpkin wreath type of scent. Love.

Sweet Harvest Pumpkin smells as if Butternut Pumpkin and Vanilla Pumpkin Marshmallow had a baby. And I want to melt it into a hot waxy puddle to scent my home STAT. The caramel and vanilla stickiness merges with spiced pumpkin and it is yummy.


Spiced Cranberry might just be my favorite cranberry from any vendor. Carol's has just the right amount of tart sweetness and spicy kick that I love. No candy. No cloy. All bright and juicy. 

Cranberry Oak please my nose. This is my first rodeo with Cranberry Oak. I quite like the tart cranberry with the velvety woods. Brilliant.

Cranberry Woods is along the same vein as Cranberry Oak but more smoky and dark. It has been ages since I have had a Cranberry Woods scent from Bath & Body Works but it used to be my top favorite. I enjoy having this on hand to reminisce. 


Fire Roasted Marshmallow is a newer scent from Carol I believe, different from her current Marshmallow Fireside scent. Sniffing them side by side, Marshmallow Fireside is less sweet and more cashmere vanilla woods. Marshmallow Fireside is a beautiful scent and I love melting it, but to compare it to BBW's Marshmallow Fireside is lacks the dousing of creamy vanilla marshmallows. Fire Roasted Marshmallow, in my opinion, is a touch closer to the Bath & Body Works Marshmallow Fireside but still not there. I love the strength of sweetness and smokiness that Fire Roasted Marshmallow emits. It almost has a balsam note to it. I love both and would buy both again in a heartbeat.

Celebrate Christmas Type melds together the comforting aroma of the live Christmas tree in the corner of the room, festooned with lights and baubles with the sweetness of sugared fruits and candies in the glass bowl on the coffee table. 

Noels of Christmas Past might be one of my favorite Christmas tree scents... balsam and firs, evergreen and conifers, all mixed up in sugar and Vanilla Bean Noel. Sweet whipped cream and vanilla with Christmas trees. I love the tree and pinecone shapes too. They were such a sweet surprise to open up. <3


Speaking of cute trees and pinecones! 

Peppermint & Cypress makes my eyes roll back in fits of rapture. Why have I not purchased this scent before? Where has it been all my life? Why did I not buy TWO bags of it?! The answers to all these questions elude me, however, the appeal of this scent does not. Frigid peppermint, frosted with ice and the ever so slightest bit of sugar, swirls like snow about tall stands of trees in an arctic forest. Peppermint and woods. A dream come true. 

Woodland Foliage hops into my cart almost every time I shop with Carol. It is a classic woodsy fragrance with the added complexity of sweetness and depth. There is a touch of patchouli that probably is the reason why I love it so.

Strawberry Pine and I are meeting for the very first time. As a long time lover of Sugared Strawberry Spruce I figured why not try the pine version? We all know by now just how obsessed I am with Carol's Fresh Picked Strawberry. It honestly pairs wonderfully with just about anything. In this particular blend the pine comes across as more resinous and camphorous than the spruce. I love both versions to pieces but the extra pine in this one is curling my toes.


SAMPLES! As always, Carol is super generous with her samples when it comes to her customers. But she is one savvy business woman too, that sample will more often than not enable further sales when that customer falls under the spell of the new yummy scents. And I often succumb. 

Churro Caramel Drizzle opens thick and a touch spicy. I would swear there is come chocolate shavings mixed in with all the caramel goodness.

Bourbon Sea Salt Caramel Type is more of a gourmand and oaky musky caramel scent. Not too much salt but I do like its uniqueness.

Reindeer Kisses, reindeer must dip into Santa's hot cocoa and get whipped cream mustaches. Nice and sweet and a lighter chocolate than I am used to, I think I like it.

Roasted Pine Cones stole my heart at first sniff. Pine trees and vanilla, laced with sugar and woods. Bliss. I need a bag in my life.

Kitchen Spices is not the typical super spicy baked goods aroma. It get an airy citrus from this along with sugar crystals and light clear spice. It is another lovely scent.

Pumpkin Milkshake Type is a pale vanilla scent. It has a plastic tone that might end up melting off but not sure if it is for me. I love way too many of Carol's other pumpkins to spend time buying this one. I really want to buy Pumpkin Lager but I have not seen that one offered as of late.


Swedish Dream Salt is a fresh lover's dream. It does manage to have a salty air and water vibe without being aquatic but more salt air on a cliffside forest that borders a fjord. I love it.

Snowman Candy, strangely, doesn't ring my chimes like I thought it would. On paper it is a peppermint, cinnamon stick and spruce delight but to my nose I mostly get an aquatic tone with no spice. The mint is there but subdued. My nose amps up with watery fresh thing that smells more like cucumbers that anything else.

Encounter Fresh CK Type even though it is a Men's type it smells unisex to me. A nice musky perfume with soft fruity floral tones.

A Thousand Wishes Type is fruity floral as well but nothing soft about it. These are juicy and vivid fruits with the scent of peonies.

Moringa and Salted Melon made me chuckle. I am a big Japanese candy lover and my Morinaga Hi-Chews rank right up there with some of my favorites. This smells like the honeydew version of that candy I love. 

Christmas Lane was mentioned in the CFTKR Facebook group by Mary and now I know why she was hoping to get a couple bags of it. It is one strong mamajama. Bright crisp eucalyptus evergreen woods. 

Acrtica reminds me of what a true Swedish spa might smell like. It smells serene and sweet but not candy, woodsy and a touch damp. It smells of a cabin and earth on a chilly shoreline where all your cares melt away into the wooden planks of the heated spa. 


Rainbows of Unicorns is a festively sweet blend of berries and cotton candy.

Vicious Trollop is an ode to Lorelai from Gilmore Girls and is a flirty fruity floral.

Pink Elephant smells of melons with a touch of sour on the backend.

Sparkling Fig Cocktail is a neroli powerhouse. Neroli and a shy sweet champagne. 

Pink Tinsel brims with Christmas trees and a red berry sweetness form the pomegranates.

Honey Lavender is a fast favorite. It somehow pulls like grape candy on me but I love it.

Pink Stiletto Cotton Candy is a fluffy yummy confection of berries and candy floss. Twinkling and light hearted.

Sparkling Pomegranate Prosecco reminds me of a Zinfandel spritzer.

Holiday Festival gets me excited for Christmas. This is a brilliantly executed red berry and spiced treat. I love how sunny and punchy this one is without being Hawaiian Punch but more cranberry, pineapple, grape juice and soda Christmas punch. I love it.

>Dabs forehead and cracks knuckles< Well that was quite the tour of my most recent Candles From the Keeping Room order. I have some old favorites, new favorites and from the sample I really wouldn't mind adding Holiday Festival, Roasted Pine Cones, Swedish Dream Salt and Kitchen Spices to a future order. Did you pick up anything from Carol's October opening? Do you plan on catching her December opening? 

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Elan Pottery: Fairy Houses


Elan Pottery is run by the talented Leigh Ann Thompson and her family. Her transfer mugs, opaline and pearlescent glazes and crystal mugs turn heads and sell out quickly. After trying for a few I finally gave up and then she did this amazing thing... she introduced a Mug Club and I quickly snapped one up for the 6 month option. Not too soon after that she had a shop update that included these adorable fairy and gnome houses. I grabbed several for the girls and I, as well as for holiday gifting. 


A few of them are scattered about various pots and plants on my porch. 


I adore the rustic whimsy, the glazes and embossing.


I think the gnomes enjoy it too.


I am looking forward to the new year and half a year's worth of mugs arriving once a month. <3 It will be like Christmas half the year through. 

What colors would you like to have a fairy house in? What would you do with one if you had it? The first one to comment their answers will get a fairy house shipped to them from my collection. 

Monday, November 20, 2017

New York City Sister Trip 2017


The NYC Sister Trip took place during Veteran's Day Weekend and it left my legs sore and my heart full of memories. We stayed from Friday morning until Monday afternoon and housed ourselves at the Archer Hotel (I love that place) in a double room with an Empire view. It was about $500/night and split between the four of us. 


We immediately trotted over to Bryant Park to get some lunch and hot apple cider then hit up the free admission day for MoMA (Museum of Modern Art). After viewing the art and iconic works (Monet, Frida, Van Gogh and more) we then moseyed about until dinner time where we dined at Gato. Before our dinner reservations we walked about Washing Square Park. It was pretty cold all weekend with temperatures "feeling like" the 20's. We weren't prepared so we raided an REI and bought gloves, hats and hand warmers.


The view from our room. The Empire State Building was a different color each night.


This was the view if looking to the right. 


The subway was a must for all our galavanting about Manhattan. We got separated on our very first ride when the doors closed right behind Lindsey and I. Darby and Heather photographed subway rats until they caught up with us.


Sometimes during the weekend I would look over and see something as sweet as this...


... then in the blink of an eye, I would turn around and see that.



We took the Staten Island Ferry early the next morning to take in the sights.


Then made our way over to the 9/11 Museum, which was predictably packed to capacity on Veteran's Day.


Lunch had to be rather quick from a street vendor on our way to the TKTS booth. I am not sure if it was all the walking and the cold or if that chicken kebab sandwich was really that delicious. But it might have been the best meal I have eaten to date.


We waited in line for our discounted Phantom of the Opera tickets (which was as phenomenal as ever) in Times Square.


After dinner on a rooftop restaurant then taking in the show, we came home to a patriotic Empire State Building view.


The next morning dawned bright and cold, can you see the icicles on the fountain? We gravitated back to Bryant Park for breakfast. It is one block from our hotel and after Halloween it is decked out with a Holiday Village that sells both cute items and yummy foods. I had a chicken coconut curry empanada for the lunch the first day and then this particular morning I dined on a chewy warm waffle smeared with speculoos (cookie butter) and topped with whipped cream.


It was eye rollingly good. Then we grabbed marocchinos at Zibettos on our way to Central Park.



Fall in Central Park really is worth the visit to NYC in and of itself. Especially for this Florida girl who lacks all this splendor in her life.






We only got about half way through the park and then needed to turn back to make our lunch reservation. It was so lovely though... I could have kept strolling and ambling the rest of the day. It was neat taking in the joggers, dog walkers, babies getting photos in the leaves and people enjoying horse drawn carriage rides. 



We turned our bodies away from Central Park (but I think I did leave my heart there) and headed towards our lunch date.


I passed this sticker covering a crack in a window and it made me pause. But then we were back on our way to Serendipity3.


Serendipity3 was seriously a cute tiny lunch place with amazing frozen hot chocolates, and I got to top all that yumminess off by meeting my friend Jean there for a lunch date. <3


After lunch we walked about into various stores and rambled our way sporadically towards downtown. The sun sank and cast the most beautiful reflections around the city. Sunsets aren't much of a sight on the streets between the tall skyscrapers but late afternoon dazzles.




These particular reflections mesmerized me.


We did end up going into St. Patricks and lighting candles. It was moving.


We caught the subway and made our way to The Strand where I got to browse the bookshelves and stationary and socks to my heart's content. I picked up Murder on the Orient Express by Agath Christie(finished it already and loved it!), Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman and a book by my man, Leonard Cohen, Beautiful Losers



Then we walked about Greenwich Village at night and even stopped to see the Friends apartment building. I also swung into Aedes as well to sniff some perfumes.


They didn't have L'Orpheline in stock so I ended up leaving empty handed.


But I made up for it the next day by hitting up Chanel and buying a bottle of Coromandel.


The city was festive for the holidays and we enjoyed gazing into window displays, sighting the Rockefeller tree in its scaffold and watching the twinkling lights being wrapped around trees.


One of the last things we did was view the city from Top of the Rock. The Statue of Liberty is in the distance to the right of the Empire State Building. 

There were some bumps and hiccups and moments of frustration. I did end up getting ill and came home with an ear infection (can I tell you how painful it is to fly with an ear infection popping and pressing?) but all in all it was a lovely experience with memories I will never forget. I hope next time I visit the city it will be with my husband and girls. I know they would love it (the girls, not the husband). We wore our feet out and walked about 20,000 steps each day and a total of 36 miles over the whole trip. 

If you were to build a 3 day NYC itinerary what would you include?